Central Connecticut men's soccer interim head coach David Kelly has announced the addition of 12 newcomers to the program for the upcoming 2022 season. The incoming group will add depth and experience to a Blue Devils roster that returns its top eight point scorers from the Kelly's second campaign in charge of the program.
"This year's incoming class raises the standard across the board for our program," said Kelly. "We have reinforced our front line, added depth to our goalkeeping situation, and added overall quality to the squad. But most importantly is to continue to focus on character, high academics, and leadership qualities. Thanks goes out to my former Assistant Coach, Shane Recklett, for all of the hard work in helping to put this class together. I'm really excited about this group of new Blue Devils, and we can't wait for preseason to begin."
Owen Ahmetovic – Wethersfield, CT – CFC, ECNL – 6'1" D/M
Before CCSU: Two-time varsity captain...Two-time All-State...2021 Class L State Champions...Oakwood Academy...ECNL Nationals with CFC...All-Northeastern Conference Second Team
Kelly on Ahmetovic: "Owen is a tough competitor, who prides himself on winning his battles. He can play anywhere along the back line, or the 6. Owen has all of the attributes to compete at the college level, and will be a solid addition who will compete for time as a freshman."
David Akpan – Brentwood, NY – SUSA, ECNL– 6'2" – F
Before CCSU: SUSA, ECNL...Two-time Suffolk All-Conference Player...Two-time Suffolk All-County Player...2021 NY All-State player...Led Long Island in scoring in 2021...Holds HS record for most goals scored in a season (26)...2021 S.C.S.C.A award for over 20 goals a season.
Kelly on Akpan: "David is a fast, athletic forward, who can create chances out of nothing. He will bring a physical presence to the team, and David has massive potential. We fully expect him to get better and better every season."
Matthew Alfred – Orlando, FL – Orlando City SC, MLS Next – 6'0" – M
Before CCSU: Played for Orlando City MLS Next...Member of Florida Kraze Krush ECNL and New Jersey ODP State
Kelly on Alfred: "Matthew is a powerful, athletic center midfielder. He works tirelessly, covers ground, and is great at breaking up plays. He is good with the ball, calm in possession, and has a good range of passing. Matthew will be a superb addition to the center of the park for us."
Zach Cancellieri – Berlin, CT – CFC Valley, EDP – 6'1" – GK
Before CCSU: Captain, Berlin High School...All-Conference...CT Senior Bowl...Four-time All-Academic
Kelly on Cancellieri: "Zach is an athletic goalkeeper with all of the characteristics to be at the D1 level. He is a good shot-stopper, is good with his feet, and has the potential to become a starter."
Caden Gallagher - Farmington, CT – FSA FC, ECNL - 5'10" – F, D
Before CCSU: Captain Senior Year...2021 Class LL State Champions...2021 CCC West Champions...CSCA Coaches Poll Unanimous #1 team in CT...CSCA Senior Bowl MVP...CSCA All-State...Two-time CCC All-Conference...Leading goal scorer and point leader senior year with 17 goals and 9 assists...FSA FC ECNL...ECNL Supercup Selection
Kelly on Gallagher: "Caden is an athletic, dynamic player who can get behind defenses, and create and score goals. He's versatile, can play a number of positions, and is good at running at defenders. Caden is also an honest, hard-working young man who has all of the qualities to help continue the upward trajectory of the program."
Taein Ka – Seosan, South Korea – Pima CC – 5'8" – M/F
Before CCSU: 2021 NJCAA National Champions at Pima...Finished 3rd in Korean National League...Top scorer in Grades 10 and 11
Kelly on Ka: "Taein is a very talented attacking player, who can be deployed at '10', or anywhere along the front line. He is lightning quick, has a low center of gravity, and likes to take players on. Taein had a great experience winning a National Championship at Pima, and will be a great addition to our attack."
Eric Kanebog – Stavanger, Norway – FK Vidar – 6'3" – F
Before CCSU: Played for FK Vidar, Viking, and Lørenskog IF...Top Scorer U15, U16 & U19...Regional Team Player...Second Place, U19 1st Division League (Akershus-Lørenskog IF)...Third Place, U20 League (Rogaland-Viking Fk)...Third Place, U19 National League (Viking Fk)
Kelly on Kanebog: "Eric has an excellent goal-scoring record in Norway, and is a beast of an athlete. He's fast and powerful, and will be a handful for our opponents. He has good feet for a big man, and he's had a great football education back home. He understands how and when to press, and has the IQ to step in and impact the program immediately."
Mick Sipples – Middletown, CT – FSA FC, ECNL – 6'2" – GK
Before CCSU: Played for Oakwood SC DA and MLS Next...Member of FSA ECNL...Played for the NE Revs MLS Next...Three-time league champions in the Development Academy...Three-time DA Playoffs...One-time DA Cup
Kelly on Sipples: "Mick is a powerful, brave goalkeeper. He has the size, strength and speed to excel at the college level. He is an outstanding shot-stopper, good on crosses, and can hit a side-volley with his distribution. Mick will contend for time in a very competitive goalkeeping situation."
Will Starker – Columbus, OH – FC Columbus, NPSL – 6'0" – M/F
Before CCSU: 2019 OHSSA State Champion...2020 All-league, All-district and All-state...Led the team in assists in both junior and senior years.
Kelly on Starker: "Will is a quick, very skillful midfielder who has all of the creative attributes that we look for in a '10'. He's dynamic, clever, and can create chances as well as finish them. He has great potential and will add to the depth of a talented pool of midfielders."
Emanuel Svedberg – Stavanger, Sweden – GIF Sundsvall, Allsvenskan – 6'4" – GK
Before CCSU: Played for Essvik AIF, NIU Sports Institute and GIF Sundsvall
Kelly on Svedberg: "Emanuel is a big presence at 6'4" and has had a good soccer upbringing with GIF Sundsvall in Sweden's Allsvenskan. He has excellent reflexes as a big man, and has the temperament and IQ to help move our program forward."
Darrius Talbert – Fort Meyers, FL – Florida West, ECNL – 6'0" - D
Before CCSU: ECNL All-Conference First Team...FACA All-State Team...District 6A All-Conference First Team...FYSA State Champion...Three-time District Champion
Kelly on Talbert: "Darrius is a superb athlete, who is comfortable in possession. He's great in the air, has great pace, and can slot in anywhere along the back line. Darrius is top character type of person, too, and is the kind of player to help us as we continue to build a culture centered on excellence
Joe Tata, Wethersfield, CT – FSA FC – 5'10" – M
Before CCSU: 2020 ECNL Super Cup roster...Top 22 Players Northeast ECNL...CCC Prime Time Team...2021-22 ECNL Top 25 Players to Watch...Wethersfield High School MVP for 2022...2021 Class L State Champions
Kelly on Tata: "Joey is a quick, technical midfielder who is clean with the ball, and excellent in tight spaces. He is very good in possession, and has the ability to make forward runs. Joe has a really high IQ, and will fit in perfectly with the way we want to play. He will compete for minutes right away."